Women Don't Run: Gender Differences in Candidate Entry
22 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 26 Aug 2011
Date Written: 2011
We investigate the role of gender in the choice of whether or not to run for political office. In order to control for confounding factors that might affect the relative propensities for women and men to enter politics, we take the question of the choice to enter elections to the laboratory. The key features of our experimental design involve: (1) a task that represents policymaking ability in which there is population heterogeneity but that is also gender neutral, (2) monetary rewards that ensure that all subjects, regardless of gender, face the same incentives (conditional only on their own task ability) to run for office and to elect a representative with the highest task ability. Preliminary evidence indicates that there are gender differences in choices to run for office, with women less likely to run than men with similar abilities, and that such differences are specific to the competitive and strategic context of campaigns and elections.
Keywords: political candidates, gender, laboratory experiment, representation
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